As first days on the job go, Friday was a resounding success for the two Swedish rookies in the NTT IndyCar series. Felix Rosenqvist set quick time in the morning session and Marcus Ericsson was third fastest on the tricky St. Petersburg street circuit.
“It was a good start — my car was fast right off the start and I learned a lot today,” said Rosenqvist, who basically won the ride with Chip Ganassi based on his two tests and resume in Europe. “I won an Indy Lights race here a few years ago, so I knew the track and that helped. But having a great team and a good car is really what helps.”
Ericsson (pictured, top) was back being a competitive racer for the first time in six years. After five years of Formula 1 racing, driving an inferior car and basically racing against his teammate, Ericsson regained that racy feeling.
“It felt good — I was quicker than I expected, but a good start,” said the 28-year-old who is driving for Arrow SPM Racing in 2019. “This is why I came here, to get back to real competition.
“I spent five years in F1 driving hard and waiting on something good to happen but I wound up racing my teammate and that was very tough mentally. But this is why you race and it was big-time exciting today.”
Rosenqvist dropped to 14th in the afternoon and Ericsson 19th as they tried the optional red tires for the first time.
“I got a little better on the reds after screwing up but I think there’s a lot more in the car,” said Scott Dixon’s new teammate.
Ericsson was asked if St. Pete reminded him of anything in F1.
“I like the track — it’s very technical,” he continued. “It reminds me a little of Monaco and Baku because you have to be very precise but it’s fun. Just like being in this car.”